The Vatican

The Word of God arouses the call of Jesus

On the Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis said, commenting on the passage of Jesus' call to the first disciples, that the Word of God gives rise to the mission that makes us his witnesses. A call that invites us to set sail with him for others, leaving boats and nets behind. He also encouraged us to carry the Gospel and read it daily.

Francisco Otamendi-January 21, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes
Pope Francis

Pope Francis during the general audience on Jan. 17 (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

The Holy Father reflected this morning on the homily of the Holy Mass of the Word of God SundayThe first of the first twelve apostles, Simon and his brother Andrew, who were fishermen, and James and his brother John, four of the first twelve apostles, were called by Jesus in the Gospel.

The Word of God unfolds the power of the Holy Spirit, the Pope pointed out in this III Sunday in Ordinary Time. "It is a force that attracts us to God, as happened to the young fishermen, who were impressed by the words of Jesus. It is a force that moves us towards others, as happened to Jonah, when he addressed those who were far from the Lord. The Word, therefore, draws us toward God and sends us toward others.".

They left the networks and followed him

"Jesus said to them, "Follow me [...]." Immediately they left their nets and followed him" (Mk 1:17-18). The power of the word of God is great, as we have also seen in the first reading: "The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah a second time in these terms: "Go to Nineveh at once [...] and announce it to him [...]" Jonah departed [...] according to the word of the Lord" (Jon 3:1-3).

"As with the first disciples, who, welcoming the words of Jesus, left their nets and began a stupendous adventure, so too on the shores of our lives, alongside the boats of our families and the nets of our work, the Word stirs up the call of Jesus, who calls us to set sail with him for others. Yes, the Word stirs up the mission, it makes us messengers and witnesses of God", the Pontiff encouraged in his homily at the Mass of this Sunday of the Word of God, instituted by the Holy Father Francis in September 2019.

The Word of God, decisive for the saints

If we look at "the friends of God, the witnesses of the Gospel in history, we see that for all of them the Word has been decisive". The Pope cited here the first monk, St. Anthony, who, impressed by a passage of the Gospel while at Mass, left everything for the Lord; think of St. Augustine, whose life was turned upside down when a divine word healed his heart; think of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, who discovered her vocation by reading the letters of St. Paul".

"And I think of the saint after whom I am named, Francis of Assisi, who, after having prayed, read in the Gospel that Jesus sends the disciples to preach and then exclaimed: 'This is what I want, this is what I seek, this is what in my heart of hearts I long to put into practice,'" he added.

"Have I read at least one of the four Gospels?"

After meditating on what the first disciples left behind - "The boat and the nets, that is, the life they had led until that day" - the Pope pointed out that "it is often difficult for us to leave our securities, our habits, because we remain trapped in them like the fish in the net".

Finally, he formulated some questions for the exam, encouraging us to read the Gospel every day. "What place do I reserve for the Word of God in the place where I live? There will be books, newspapers, televisions, telephones, but where is the Bible? In my room, do I have the Gospel at my fingertips? Do I read it every day to guide me on the path of life? Many times I have advised to always carry the Gospel with me, in my pocket, in my purse, in my phone".

"If I love Christ more than anyone else," he continued, "how can I leave him at home and not take his Word with me? And one last question: have I read at least one of the four Gospels in their entirety? The Gospel is the book of life, it is simple and brief, and yet many believers have never read one from beginning to end. Let us allow ourselves to be conquered by the beauty that the Word of God brings to our lives," the Pope concluded.

Ministries of lector and catechist to 9 laypersons

During the Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter's Basilica, before five thousand Romans and pilgrims from many countries, the Pope conferred on lay men and women from different countries of the world the ministries of Reader y Catechist. There were nine people, mostly women, from Jamaica and Brazil as Readers, and from Korea (2), Chad (2), Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Bolivia and Germany (2), in this case from Regensburg, as Readers. Catechistswho have received a Bible and a crucifix from the hands of the Pope.

The Vatican celebration of the III Sunday of the Word of God in 2022 had several novelties, among them, the institution of the first ministers of the Catechesis. Among them were Rosa AbadRosa Abad, a graduate of the Archdiocese of Madrid, a librarian by profession and a catechist by vocation, explained to Omnes, "What the Lord transmits to you cannot be silenced," she said. "I can only give thanks to God, in capital letters," said Rosa Abad.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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